Challenging a will
If the deceased promised to give you something in their will
When can I make a claim under the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act?
You can make a claim under the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949 if:
- you provided services or performed work for the deceased during their lifetime, and
- in return for these services or work, the deceased made an express or implied promise to reward you or make a particular provision for you in their will, and
- they didn’t keep that promise.
How can I prove that a promise was made?
Sometimes it’s difficult to prove that a promise was made. You can use oral or written evidence (such as letters or texts). Previous wills can also be used as evidence of the deceased’s intentions.
You might not have to prove that a promise was made explicitly or in writing. The court might agree that there was a promise based on the the surrounding circumstances.
How will the court decide?
The court will consider all the circumstances of the case, including, in particular:
- the circumstances in which the deceased made the promise, and you performed the work or services
- the value of the services or work
- the value of what was promised
- the amount of the estate
- the nature and amounts of the claims against the estate by other people.
What happens if my claim is successful?
The court can award reasonable payment out of the estate to honour the promise. The court will consider all the circumstances of the cases to decide what is reasonable.
Is there a time limit on making a claim?
You must file in the court within 12 months of the grant of probate. The court can extend this time frame, but not if the estate has already been distributed.
The procedure for making a claim is similar to making a claim under the Family Protection Act (see: “What is the procedure?”). Generally, it’s recommended for you to get a lawyer’s help to prepare your claim.